April 10, 2001
NOTRE DAME TELECONFERENCE
Press Conference Audio
An Interview With:
COACH MIKE BREY
JOHN HEISLER: Just a couple of quick notes we have a press release that basically represents what is being announced today. It is up on our web site right now at UND.COM. If you need it faxed to you, just call our office at 219-631-7516. We will be happy to do that.
Coach Mike Brey is here. He will have some openings comments, then he will be happy to answer your questions.
COACH BREY: I think it is good I guess just to try and explain the process. I guess the them that I would start off with is by putting your name in the pool doesn't necessarily mean you have made the final decision. And certainly that is the case and that is one of the reasons Troy is not here. He also has some school work he is catching up on because we were out in Los Angeles with the Wooden Awards Thursday and Friday.
So basically I think it is a great decision for him in the progress of his career to put his name into this pool.
Last year, if you look, he did not even, you know, do that. He made his decision to come back to school without entering his name. By entering his name this year, I think it is the natural progression given where he is in his basketball career. It also gives me the opportunity to more thoroughly check out his stock with NBA teams now that he has joined that pool.
So he is in. I think you know a little bit about dates. May 13th is the date he has to declare by and then June 20th is the date that he can withdraw.
By not signing with an agent at this point he has protected his eligibility if he decides to come back for his senior year.
Let me read Troy's quote. You have got mine there. This was his. We sat down this morning.
"This is something that I have thought a great deal about since the season ended. I feel that I owe it to myself to pursue this option. I discussed my future with some agents and although I haven't signed with one, I feel that it is best to take advantage of this opportunity. I will not be attending any of the pre-draft camps but I will be working out for some different NBA teams, various NBA teams."
JOHN HEISLER: Let's take some questions from the telephone, please.
Q. How does this affect your plans for next year? In other words, was there anyone you would want to give the scholarship to if Troy were going to go and how does that work?
COACH BREY: When got the -- you have got to remember the timing of me coming here was a little unusual and coming in in July, you know, I felt getting to coach him for one year was a great opportunity. If I get two out of it, that is icing on the cake at this point.
It is really hard for us to react with that scholarship and we don't have any plans to do that.
We certainly want him to just take his time and do what he needs to do.
We have some other scholarship so it is not like we are in a bind and need that.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about has he decided about what teams he wants to work out with or and what is your take on him in the draft?
COACH BREY: Well, it is interesting.
First of all, it is kind of hard to say what teams are going to be interested because it is still very early in the process. You are seeing, on a daily basis, young men declare and I don't think we'll really know the pool of players that are actually going to be in the race until around mid-May as people have advised me, NBA people.
You get differing returns on him, you know, lottery pick, late-lottery, you know, early first round, but all of that can change when you get to work out for some teams that maybe have picks a little bit higher.
So right now it is kind of hard to project but I think it is important for him to be in that pool of people that are seriously considering it.
Q. Mike, how many scholarship do you have to use and how will the Murphy situation affect that one way or another?
COACH BREY: It is really no effect on our recruiting at all. We have some flexibility with scholarship right now. We are recruiting a little bit in the spring and we have been recruiting like he is going to be back as a senior, not counting on his scholarship. If it were to open up we probably wouldn't fill it, it would be too late at that point to really fill it and we would carry it over 'til next year.
Q. Follow-up on that, you have seen Murphy for a whole season now. What skills does he still need to refine to make himself ready to be a lottery pick?
COACH BREY: Well, I think he is sort of like that already. Certainly playing another year of college, getting little older and stronger can help him. He is ready to play in the NBA? Certainly he is ready to play in the NFL. It is what level-of-ready do you want to be. The trend really has changed lately with your number of high school kids that are taken and I believe five of them are coming out this year. So it is different when you say "Is a guy ready?" The level of "Ready" has changed since five, ten years ago.
He certainly can compete in the NBA right now.
Q. I was wondering if you have had a lot of discussion with Troy on this subject or you mentioned just this morning or has it been a series of meetings with him?
COACH BREY: We have talked really all season. We try to get together once a week and talk about, you know, this decision and his stock and what people are thinking. I felt, you know, again, being new here and first year with him, certainly owed it to him to give him the feedback and I wanted him to feel comfortable coming to me to get the feedback. Sometimes kids in this position think, well, God, I can't go to my college coach because, you know, then I am thinking about myself and I am not thinking about the team and I thought it was important that he could come in and say: What do you hear, what do you think, and so we started talking about this in December.
We did get a chance to talk a lot in Los Angeles over the weekend in flying back he had to sit next to me for four hours which probably wore him out coming back to Chicago Saturday. We got a chance to talk more seriously because, you know, the timetable is starting to move.
Q. Do you happen to know if Murph has set any kind of a minimum expectation for the draft as in if he is going to go this position or higher he will go, if he doesn't go at this position, he will return, things like that?
COACH BREY: I do not. No, I don't think we have really talked about specific numbers.
Again, I think you have to see -- you know, I think it -- he is more interested to see who is going to be out there and kind of the range of projections. So haven't got that specific yet, but I think that is something as we get into end of April, early May, that you have to start making decisions on.
Q. Just to follow-up: Has Troy told his teammates and do you know how he did it? Was it individually? Did they get all together and go out? Were you there?
COACH BREY: I think at this point there is not a whole lot to tell them because there is no final decision, but I think -- he has talked to them individually. They have played some pick-up basketball yesterday. We had a weight-lifting session and he was involved in that with our group. So he has talked to them individually. We didn't make it a big meeting. Those guys spend a lot of time together away from the gym, so they are in the loop.
Q. Do you have any sort or sense that -- what do you expect? (Inaudible) Do you think he is interested in next year?
COACH BREY: I really don't know. I don't have -- I don't think -- he is certainly not in that mind set and I am not sure either. I think, you know, trying to prepare for either. But I don't think there is any -- again, I think an interesting -- you know, Sunday he wasn't sure. He made this decision to put his name in, but today he is still not sure. You just need to understand, it's -- is he strongly considering leaving? Absolutely. If he made this step to evaluate and get his stock evaluated. But there has been no final decision.
Again, it is early in the process because we still don't know everybody that is going to be in that pool as, you know, underclassmen are still declaring or not declaring.
Q. He still feels a tremendous pull in this direction too?
COACH BREY: Oh, I think there is no question. I think while we were out at the Wooden Awards and seeing Battier win that Award and seeing him stand his senior year, there is no question that had an impact on him. He is unbelievably close with this group, as much as these guys have been through, he loves this team and I think he certainly, you know, loves this place. So it is a tough decision and I think it is one that, you know, over the next month, six weeks, he will probably still wrestle with.
Q. Has he gone more than a day with a definitive answer, (inaudible) you said he is going back and forth on coming and going....
COACH BREY: I couldn't answer that. I haven't really asked him that. I don't -- I would say, you know, he probably thinks about it a lot. He is thinking about it almost maybe too much and you get into things sometimes where you start over-analyzing and so I would think he is a guy that has maybe changed his mind maybe on a daily basis.
Q. Is there anything that you have told him (inaudible) that these are the things that you really need to focus on in making a decision?
COACH BREY: I think we have talked about different things, you know, some of the advice has been to not be hung up so much on where you are picked, but who may pick you.
Well, if I am a Top-10, I am definitely gone or you maybe can go 9 and maybe it is not a good fit. But you go 15 and maybe it is a good fit. Again you don't know where those where those teams all stand right now. But that is some of the advice that we have gotten really over the last month. So, you know, things like that. And lifestyle, I think lifestyle is part of it. There is a certain lifestyle he has here that he enjoys. Certainly he can afford to have any lifestyle next year, but it is a different lifestyle and to think about that as far as the NBA lifestyle.
Q. You talked earlier about how that (inaudible) potential (inaudible) more than any NBA Draft better this year?
COACH BREY: I think the trend is the young athletic guys, that is why these five high school kids are all projected to be in the top 20. I find that very hard to believe. As a matter of fact, it disappoints me a little bit because when I watch Troy, who is almost a finished product, and you watch an 18 year old who can't make a three-foot jump shot, it's -- you know, it kind of disappoints you. But that is a trend.
And the other trend is, everybody said, I have heard all year: "He is not ready." Well, he is ready. He is ready to the degree to do it. There is no question about it because being completely ready is not part of the equation anymore in this League. So given the way things are, you know, he certainly has to look at it.
I just -- one of the things -- the younger guys, the younger, active guys have gotten to be -- they catch the League's eye a little bit more now and that is -- the word we kept hearing as we investigated this was: "This is the trend." Certainly, as you hear again, five high school kids in the top 20. That is a strong trend.
Q. Some of your thoughts -- there was a time even recently where the NBA really wasn't real big on developing players. They drafted them. They played them. Is that changing? Are teams putting more emphasis of bringing in people and developing?
COACH BREY: Yeah, I think that has changed. They bring in a guy with potential and get him in a workout program if he is not playing, and even if he is on injured reserve, they are doing things with him. You have seen that with some of the high school kids. Probably a great example was the kid from Houston, I remember he was crying in the Green Room because he didn't get picked when he thought he was picked. He's really turned out to be a pretty good player. I think he is with Seattle. They have done a great job with him and he has done a good job of developing.
But that is the trend - younger guys and developing them and they have workout guys, more guys that -- more than just the staff that you see on the bench are involved with these franchises now, the year-round programs. So that how it has kind of swung.
COACH BREY: He is finishing the semester academically. It is very important for him to stay on track. He is here in school. He is here in our workouts. He is part of our group and in our workouts.
As I told him, I said, if the option is -- if an option to come back is there, then you need to be with us here in the spring and he completely agrees with that. So he will be taking part in our things and maybe be pulled away for some other stuff to deal with this. But he is still a Notre Dame student athlete at this point.
Q. Do you worry about something like this maybe disrupting the chemistry a little bit even if he does come back?
COACH BREY: After what has gone on with this program the last three years, don't you just expect something like this in the spring? I mean, you know, what the heck. I mean, come on.
No, I don't think -- I think we will be fine.
I think our guys really understand and are sensitive to where -- what he is going through. They were there with him last year when he labored over it a little bit. I know they are completely supportive. If he decides to leave, they will be very supportive. If he decides to stay, they will be very excited to play with him. I think they have all talked about that as a group throughout the season and privately and even when we have been together we talked about it a little bit.
Q. How many teams, how will the workouts work (inaudible) --
COACH BREY: It is still early for that. It is still really early, you know, again that is going to be maybe another month and then how we set up the workouts, we really haven't decided yet. That is something we have got to discuss when we get back from Easter how we want to handle that.
But again the process is really still in the early stages, you know, you had mentioned his stock going down and you know, maybe guys think, you know, he is not as high in number as he was last year, but he has the ability in the workouts to move up the ladder. These workouts where teams can work you up the ladder and, you know, I think he is a guy that can certainly can do that. But we really don't have a plan for that yet because it is still early.
Q. The NBA, this contract system where rookies (inaudible) from your perspective is this putting unfair pressure on these players where they almost feel like they have to consider these options because they could have five- or six-year long ramifications down the line?
COACH BREY: It is disappointing. Certainly it is easy for me to say because we may lose a heck of a player. But it is disappointing to see some of the young guys feel, boy, I have got pull the trigger now or my stock is going to go down or I am going to play my way down the ladder.
I don't know what the answer is though. I can sit here and tell you it is disappointing but I don't have any answers to it. They have talked about the 20-year age limit maybe to help out a little bit. I don't know. It is the world we live in today. You have got to -- it is part of the equation and coaching at this level now, so in your recruiting and in your coaching your current guys, you just have to be ready to adjust to it because I don't see it changing any time in the near future.
Q. Has he talked to you at all asking you (inaudible) how good you think the team can be and if so what kind --(inaudible) --
COACH BREY: We talked about that a lot. I think he is excited about the potential of this basketball team if he were to return. We have talked a lot about Chris Thomas. He has been on TV a little bit with the All-Star games, and I have told him a little bit more about the kind of kid he is. He met him on the visit but just more insights there. And you know, style of play, and our schedule, and we talked a lot about the Big East, the west Division because there was a lot of change in the west with Rutgers and Seton Hall having coaching changes. We have talked a lot along those lines as well, and I think he passionately listens to that as he does the NBA information.
Q. Do you think that if he comes back he could be (inaudible)someone --
COACH BREY: Absolutely. I think he is the buy that could be the cover boy next year early, like Battier was. I think he has seen that >from afar and maybe saw it up close a little bit out in Los Angeles. And that is something that I think is enticing. The NCA tournament I think certainly whetted not only his but every one of these young men's appetites. So that is why I think, you know, the decision is a tough one because there is definitely some strong things here that are exciting, especially with the chemistry in the group that we could possibly put together next year.
Q. Is there one or two agents that (inaudible)
COACH BREY: Still considering guys. Just a handful. A couple of guys, you know, that have -- we have had them in and just like he did his home visits in college where they come in and you'd make your presentation.
Last week his mother was in town for the banquet and we had a couple of gentlemen come through and make a presentation. So he is starting to get a feel for that a little bit. He hasn't made a final decision on that.
But I think it was good for him to listen to their presentations. They all have different styles and that is part of the process now too, maybe you'd bring in another one or two of those guys to get it, you know, a more wide range of people to represent you.
Q. Do you know those guys? How do you know them?
COACH BREY: Yes. Just you get to know them. The guys in this business you get know. Three of the four I know very well. The fourth one, you know, not as good. But they all have a number of NBA clients, 20 to 25 guys. I mean, their reputations are strong, and they have been in this field for a while.
COACH BREY: I think Ryan is going to be a college basketball player. He better be down in the gym right now. That is where our guys are.
But yeah, Ryan will be back and is excited to be back and we just talked about his summer schedule and what we are going to have him do.
Q. Any time in the (inaudible) --
COACH BREY: I think the next time we need to all get together is when the final decision is made and then you know, a lot of comments have to be made. I just -- the reason -- I first thought, and we talked about it, maybe we'd would just put out a statement because there is really no change in status as far as a decision. But I said maybe it would be good for me to talk about the process and what -- and just talk to people about how it works.
So I think when the final decision is made, I believe that is when he will really want to step up and do his thing.
Q. You are on the verge of losing your greatest player. How are you staying so calm?
COACH BREY: I have got six more years on my contract. (Laughter).
IfI was going into one more year in a contract that would be a little tight. As I have said -- that is a great question. You know, under the circumstances that I got the job, as crazy as it was, I felt great -- it was great to coach him for one. That is how I looked at it. If I get him for two, man, that is great. So I kind have been in that mindset all season knowing that he thought about it last year, certainly felt that he had to seriously think about it this year. So you just try and mentally prepare as best as possible. And if we lose him, we lose a heck of a player. There is no question about it and a heck of a guy. But as I said after the NCA tournament game, I don't think we will be chopped liver, we will still got a few guys that could play a little bit. I think they will be excited to want to get out and prove themselves if he is not here.
COACH BREY: Somebody had asked me that I think back in the fall: Are you going to recruit kids if they tell you they are only going to stay two years.
Yeah, if they fit, and they are the right fit for us academically. It is just part of the equation now. I do we believe we are a little bit of a four-year institution how we are set up and who we attract. But Troy is a great example. He wasn't a McDonald's All-American. Here's a guy who just blossomed and then all of a sudden I think at the end of his sophomore year last year when people were saying: You could go, I think his mind set was, you've got to kidding me, I can go, I wasn't even a McDonalds All-American.
Now I think, you know, he has dealt with the reality of it better with another year saying: Yeah, I can go and it may be time to go.
So you are always going to get kids like that that are going to develop. Also we have got to recruit kids that are top kids and if they want to talk about a three-year plan, I mean, we have to be open-minded because again the trend is -- if we are going to be competitive in the League we have chosen to play in, we have to work with that.
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